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British youth campaigner shares views on tackling climate change

2019/09/20 18:55:12

Fatima Ali (back row, beside the Smurf mascot)

Taipei, Sept. 20 (CNA) The U.N. humanitarian affairs youth peace ambassador to the U.K. encouraged young people Friday to engage in global dialogue on climate change.

"Regardless of your level of expertise in the field of climate change, everyone has a unique insight to contribute," said 22-year-old Fatima Ali, speaking at an EU-Taiwan Forum on Youth Engagement in Climate Action in Taipei.

Sharing her own experience as an example, Ali said that being a medical student at Imperial College London has allowed her to be particularly interested in how climate change can affect human health.

Although the greenhouse effect can cause health problems such as respiratory disease and malnutrition, Ali said she was surprised to find out that medical curricula do not include the health impact of climate change.

Even worse, people who are most vulnerable to climate change are often the disadvantaged, including the elderly, children, the sick and the homeless, she said.

Determined to help protect these people against the impact of climate change, Ali said, she and other students formed Students for Global Health, which works with national and international teams to create policies about topics about which they are passionate, whether they be mental health, access to medicine or climate change.

Ali said that through studying the issue of climate change, she found that people are so fixated on instilling resilience in infrastructure to prepare for climate change, they often forget about instilling resilience in communities, particularly the health of communities.

Ali encouraged the younger generation to join her efforts and connect with one another through social media to combine their strength.

Friday's forum is a prelude to a two-week-long EU climate action event in Taipei, said Filip Grzegorzewski, head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan.

Grzegorzewski lauded Taiwan's efforts and determination in addressing climate change and reducing carbon emissions, even though it is not a contracting party to the Paris Agreement, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance, signed in 2016.

Taiwan is also on its way to building a green economy, especially with recent investment in offshore wind energy, where Grzegorzewski said he is pleased to see that the major players are mainly from Europe.

"This is an excellent example of EU-Taiwan collaboration as like-minded partners," he said.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
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